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What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill-Part Seven

 What does the Constitution say when there is misconduct on the part of the President?  Here we go:  The removal of the President – The Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one and half of the total membership may resolve that the question whether or not the President or Vice President should be removed from office for; serious misconduct, failure to obey or uphold or defend this Constitution.  So, if the Chief Justice has been appointed by the President and fails to uphold this Constitution, it has repercussions on the person who appoints.  As such, there is a provision in the Constitution which ensures that the President is felt.  Not only that, but it goes again to see willful violation of this Constitution or de-inability to perform the functions of the office.  What does that mean?  If the Chief Justice appointed by the President has failed to do a job, it has repercussions on the CEO.  If a financial director of a company fails to do…

HON. MARIDADI:  On a point of order, the Hon Vice President Hon. Mnangagwa is here, the Hon. Vice President Hon Mphoko is here.  God forbid, let us respect these two gentlemen and be decent in the way we discuss these things.  Out of nothing but decency and respect, let us respect those two elderly gentlemen and debate with a certain level of decorum, decency and common sense.  I thank you.

HON. MLISWA:  Just to summarise and finish off, the President is equally empowered to appoint two Vice Presidents who we are proud to have in the House.  So, his failure to act as President – if he is equally empowered to appoint two Vice Presidents, what is wrong with him appointing a Chief Justice.  So, to me, it is noble for the President to be given the power to appoint the Chief Justice.  I thank you.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Hon. Chair, I do not seek to waste the House’s time.  I think a lot of things have been said and I want to start from what Hon Ziyambi said because he made a very important point.  We are making laws, for posterity as a people’s Parliament.  So, when we are making laws, we are making them for the people.  I want to thank Hon. Ziyambi for the suggestion, especially for us to carry the spirit that was in Section 180 of the previous provision, the one of checks and balances so as to have what we call ‘the balancing of the tyranny of offices’.

 No office is supposed to be tyrannical against the other office.  We should not reduce the Judiciary to being the deputy of the Executive because it is not the deputy of the Executive.  So, we want to make sure that we have three separate pillars and in order to do that, we need to ensure that we breathe the oxygen of checks and balances into how we appoint leaders.  We should not mistake ourselves and say we want to take away the power to appoint from the President.  That power cannot be taken away but we want to make sure that we season and marinade the route to the appointment with the necessary checks and balances that are contained in the previous spirit of the Constitution.

 I think the suggestion that is coming through is very important.  How do we make sure that we make the Judiciary a creature of the necessary appointment?  Why do we not invoke the permanent and progressive role of Parliament either through the Senate or National Assembly or a Select Committee of Parliament that has to then subject whatever appointment is made by the President or is supposed to go to the President to the role of the Legislature.  I think that is a progressive suggestion which should not even just be limited to the Chief Justice.  Even our Ministers are supposed to be subjected to the validation of Parliament.  If the Minister has not been validated by Parliament, he/she has to go back to the President so that the President makes another appointment.  That is how we strengthen our democracy as a country.  So, I want to say that this is a very progressive thing and what we want at the end of the day is not to have a king or an emperor. We want a President who is the first resident.  We cannot have a situation whereby we have a person who is the power unto himself for everything.  Yes, he is our President, we have elected him but you must know.  I am saying this because I am very conscious of the possibilities that are there.  Next year there is going to be an election, I am Deputy President of the Opposition – I might end up being the deputy occupant of that office and we do not need those powers.  As a new Government, we do not need those powers.  They are odious powers and are unnecessary.   This is why we are saying to the Hon. Vice President, please let us reconsider some of the laws that we put in place.  We will end up with a sword where we are supposed to have a very functional instrument or two that will help our country.  Thank you very much.

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